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mandance New here, 20 years of pills.


mandance

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Hey everyone..I found this forum after searching the internet for hope. My name is Chris, I am 29 from Seattle and currently going through withdrawals from over 15 years of antidepressant use, and 5 years of ritalin use before that. I was put on pills at a very young age and made to believe I need them for life.

 

It has been very obvious for quite some time now, that taking these medications has done nothing more that keep the withdrawals away. Even my therapist agreed so I had slowly tapered off effexor for sometime.

I have been off effexor for about 2 weeks now, even though I was withdrawaling before that from lack of extended release capsules and taking the standard 25mg tabs. I also took 10 days of prozac to help me get off since its longer acting but I dont really notice a difference.

 

This is the worst hell I have ever been through, and I have been through a lot. I tapered off effexor once before, when I was 24 and it was not this hard then. It took me a month last time...and I felt fine for about 3 months until I suffered my first panic attack...I had many to follow and out of fear...got back on pills, once again believinng I needed them. Im back at it again, trying to overcome this beast and this time it is far worse.

 

I have all the symptoms many of you are familiar with plus some ive never felt before that are truely terrifying:

 

Constant chest pain that radiates down left arm. I feeling of blood clotting, like blood is not flowing well...after withdrawaling for 2 weeks...this has subsided quite a bit.

I feel a bit better after a few weeks...still very bad anxiety, dizzyness, foggyhead although Ive had the fog for a year now even on meds. Legs feel like jellow, motor functions feel impaired, worse short term memory etc.

 

I was strong and hopeful..but the more I read on the internet, the worse I feel. I was feeling mentally ok..but starting to feel hopeless and suicidal again. I dont have much support...my family and girlfriend do not understand. I am basically alone in this other than my best friend...who is on paxil 10 years and counting.

 

I feel trapped because I just dont see how I can justify getting back on pills to avoid these withdrawals..but I feel I am permanently brain damaged now, as some research might suggest on the internet after such long use of these drugs. I can honestly say if I have to live feeling this way, I would rather end my suffering. I dont mean to come off as someone suicidal..but I need help and that is why I came here. I also would like to provide help to others as I go through this journey.

 

I am trying so hard to remane strong and keep positive, but its getting so hard. I feel like some things are improving, but mentally I feel like im going crazy and I cant leave the house. I want to enjoy life again. I am grateful that I feel I do care but no will to leave the house...too much anxiety, dizzyness etc. No will to eat also.

 

 I see my therapist every week for an hour, it helps, and im also meditating a lot more. Hope can I keep hope? Is it possible to recover and have a normal life again? My relationship is going down the drain from this, its killing my family and friends and if it werent for the fact that I can work fulltime from home...I would not be able to work at all right now.

 

I have been reading the success stories a bit on here but I guess im just looking for some positive vibes, and some hope and encouragement that it can get better. Ive been in a dark place for 4 years now and it just seems to keep getting worse. Thanks

 

Also, what if months and months go by and I still feel this way....cant these drugs cause permanent damage to us? If such a long time goes by and I still cant function, would I then have to get back on pills just to have some sort of life, even if minimal and numbed? Thanks everyone. the internet is the only support I really have.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Also id like to add the frustration I am dealing with also, living with my mom and stepdad. My mom was the one who put me on these drugs when I was kid, and is still is such denial of what they have done to me. ITs really a cause of stress living here...how do you forgive someone who did this to you and refuses to admit they ever did any wrong? And futher, how do you forgive someone that still to this day accuses you of being the one that has the problem and needs these pills and refuses to accept any sort of responsibility? It just kills me.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Also I should add how I tapered off. Because im thinking I didnt taper long enough. But I was on 75mg of effexor, went down to 37.5 no problem, and stayed on that dose for quite awhile. Like 5 months. It was when I switched to 25 mg non XR that I started having withdrawal..about a month into those...probably was how long it took the halflife of the 37.5 to die off. After a month of 25mg, I added on 10mg prozac 5 days before ending those to have somethign once again, to ideally help ease the withdrawal but I dont think the prozac really helped. Pill free for about a week now.

 

Chest doesnt hurt as much anymore, but I can still feel my tingling in my arms and like my blood flow is weird, but it has gotten better. Went to a specialist to make extra sure. Blood pressure and heart are perfect even with stress test.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Chris,

I read your posts and I'm sorry sorry you are going through this, but you have come to the right place and will be able to get some great advice and support here and get your life back.

 

It may take a little while for some people, and others heal faster,  but the changes made by these medications to the brain and nervous system are not permanent.  You are relatively young, so that's something in your favor

 

More experienced members will be along soon to help and you will probably be asked to put your withdrawal history in your signature, that way it makes it easier to see your progress.  Instructions can be found here: 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Sometimes, when someone has only been off a medication for a short while, and 2 weeks is a short time, a reinstatement of a very small amount can sometimes relieve some of the symptoms and then after stabilizing on that amount, a slower taper can be started.  It doesn't mean that you are going back on your medication to avoid withdrawals, it means that by preserving a smaller and smaller amounts of medication in your body, you are giving your nervous system some support as it heals.  Please correct me someone else if this isn't right.

 

Here is a link for tapering off effexor:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/

 

Are you still taking Ritalin or did you stop that before starting on Effexor?

 

Its very common for relationships to become difficult when someone has problems withdrawing from anti-depressants.  If you haven't been through this, its impossible to understand and most doctors don't have knowledge of this either.  But you will find understanding and support here.  You may find the 'Family and Friends' section helpful, here:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/11-family-and-friends/

 

Its good that you got your heart checked and know that the tingling and chest pain wasn't something more serious.

 

Don't worry, you will recover and more help is on the way, there are some very experienced people here.

 

I hope you feel better soon

Petu

 

 

 

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Hi Chris,

 

Welcome. By the way, I wonder what the percentage is of psychiatrists who falsely tell their patients they need meds for life?

 

I totally understand your despair but I can tell you from personal experience that when you start doing the "What if I never heal" routine, to respond in something similar to this manner - "My feelings of anxiety about the future are totally understandable but what it most helpful is to focus on how I can recover now and live the best life possible."

 

You also might want to resist reading the negative stories about people who have struggled long term if it greatly demoralizes you and focus on the success stories.  And it is great you have a supportive therapist although I am saddened you are alone in your struggles otherwise.

 

Hang in there.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Chris.

 

I'm not going to lie to you: given how young you were when you started on brain-chemistry-disrupting meds, and how long you've taken them, it's not going to be a quick or easy process for you to get off of them. However, you CAN do it.  But you'll need to do a very, very slow and gradual and careful taper.

 

Please do fill in a sig line as Petu suggested, so that we know exactly what meds you took when, exactly what your previous attempts to quit were, when you went back on and for how long, and how you tapered.

 

My guess (without specifics about your med history) is that you may need to partially reinstate to a dose that allows you to stabilize, wait a while so that your CNS has a chance to reach homeostasis, then taper very, very gradually.  This can definitely be done, and if you can find the patience to do it slowly and carefully, you can get off the meds and stay off of them for life.

 

However, given your history, you need to take quite seriously what I'm saying about how important it is to do it slowly and very gradually. I think given that you've been on brain-chemistry-altering drugs since childhood you will probably need to taper off over a couple of years at least.  You have to regrow a new brain, sort of, and that's not a fast process. However at your age it should be quite do-able.

 

We'll be able to give you more specific suggestions here once we have your full history in the sig line. Thanks!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Hey guys, thanks for the welcome. I updated my sig for easier notation. It does indeed seem like a difficult spot to be in. On one hand...this is hell, but since I ended the pills over a week ago, withdrawling for 3 weeks however...a part of me just wants to ride it out like I have in the past and deal with it. But not knowing how long I could feel like this is the worst part because the life I am living now is just extremely minimal. I cant really leave the house and feel very helpless.

 

I honestly dont know how you guys have done it...this is the worst torture ive ever felt. When I tapered off a few years ago...I dont remember having any trouble getitng off at all...the only thing to happen to me was that after 3 good months, I started suffering extreme anxiety...so I got scared once again and got back on.

 

I wish I had more support in my real life. As I mentioned..I dont have much family and they dont understand or even believe meds can do this. My dad was super supportive of me my entire life in a certain sense..but he died 2 years ago. Its funny because my entire life, he was the only one warning everyone of these pills and trying to help me get off, but I never believed him when so many others told me I needed them, God how right he was...i wish I could go back in time and have him help me get off. My girlfriend somewhat gets it...but she is emotionally fragile as well...and its just killing her to have to keep dealing with this. And it kills me to have to put her through this...I just want to make her happy as best I can and everyone else if I could just be ok.

 

But now its just crazy. The days though. honestly are nothing compared to the nights. I can almost handle getting through the day alright...even thouhg I havent really tested how much I can handle...havent really left house...stopped working out etc. I go on walks here and there but even that feels hard. Its like being super sensitive to anything and everything which Im sure you all know about. Also a lot of strong emotions...crying easily and often. Painful memories coming back from the past more and more but also crying for no reason.

 

The nights are really terrifying though. I can no longer sleep..ive never had sleep problems ever. Its like my body wants to sleep, but when I am about to fall asleep...i get a surge of adrenaline...chest pain..heart racing a feeling of true terror. This keeps happening until 5am usually until I pass out from exhaustion.

 

Waking up is terrible also..the first feelings I have waking up are also of horror and pain but that usually fades.

 

The chest pain, muscle twitching and arm pain have all seemed to have subsided greatly though after 2 weeks which is nice.Ive had a few bouts of extreme depression but for the most part...my mind set has been very positive although its true...forums like this in general are amazing support, they also tend to make me feel worse at the same time when you hear about people that cant get off. I feel like I almost was doing better when I completely shut myself off to the fact that I am trying to get off these pills but I suppose I cant really keep ignoring it.

 

I also feel really weak..muscles feel weak etc.

 

Its hard because on one hand...getting back on the low 37.5 dose of effexor to end this hell, seems like a nice idea...but at the same time.....I just want to get this over with also. And it seems like tapering off effexor would be a pain since the lowest XR dose is 37.5 mg. And if I try to taper for another year or more...I feel like im still left with minimal guarentees. Getting off now seemed ideal because I am not commited to a full time in studio job and can work from home and also living at parents currently.

 

.ITs really a difficult decision. On one hand I feel I can ride this out, but on the other....I dont know how long I can with having these types of horrible nights.

 

The anxiety and depression I now have the tools to deal with for the most part from therapy and meditation...I am a pretty strong guy overall and have achieved great success already in my life...but again I applaud all of you who have done this because this challenge makes everything else ive done before seem so easy and small.

 

And on a side note...im just too smart and good looking to be going through this, you ladies would understand if you saw me ;) Ok all jokes aside....we have to joke to get through hard times right? You guys are inspiring and again I cant say how much respect I have for all of you.

 

My hopes are that i can overcome this and live a normal functional life once again and in doing so...help others to get through this also. I would hate to miss out on many good memories of life because of this. I am supposed to go to Italy in early October with family...but at this rate...there is no way that can happen. And I feel horrible because I need to be strong and healthy...so I can tend to my aging family members and spend more time with them.

 

Oh and one more thing...has anyone else felt this feeling of insantiy? I feel like im on the edge of some sort of breakdown...or like I fear losing my mind through all this stress. Please tell me its just anxiety talking and that I will not lose my mind lol.

 

God bless all of you, holy crap...what a ride.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Also...If I do reinstate...would I go back to taking 37,.5 mg XR again and start over from there? I am reading the effexor guide but can someone else also chime in on this. It seems like bead counting would be quite annoying...but at the same time...XR is what I was used to before

 

Also, has anyone ever just said screw it, and accepted a life of these pills so you dont have to go through this suffering? Sometimes its tempting....

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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mandance,the anxiety and insomnia are due to high levels of cortisol in your system.

Google for "PHOSPATIDYLSERINE AND CORTISOL"

My english is not good, neither my computer skills, but you will find a link from SA related to this topic.

4 years aprox. on 150mgs.Effexor for situational major depression.No AD before.
Tapered 150-0mgs in 3 months.

Tapered Quetiapine,Xanax in the last 18 months.NO med of any kind anymore.
First 3 months off acute w/d
Protracted w/d ever since.
Symptoms:Anxiety,anhedonia,insomnia,tinnitus,PSSD

04/13/2014 Awful Relapse.Recovered fairly fast.

3 years and 4 months off.

waves and windows.Very much recovered.

November 2015,health issue.Setback.
 

 

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Thanks Alex...I will check it out and that makes sense. It does feel like excess cortisol. I am going to an endocronologist next month...my testosterone levels are also extremely low.

 

also...i left a message for my therapist....should I ask for more 37.5 XR capsules to reinstate? He might try to push prozac on me instead but 10 days of that did nothing so im not sure which path to take here. Thanks.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Mandance, I am tapering effexor too and totally relate to what you are going through.

I would follow the advice given and reinstate the effexor Counting beads is  time consuming and 

a pain to do but well worth it. I am now down to just 4 beads from 37.5 in about 16 months. 

Once you stabilise, keep there for a few weeks then remove beads. I started with taking out 10

and reduced the number I took out as I went along. With each drop I had mild withdrawal for a few

days but nothing bad, then felt better and better with each drop until 5 beads when I felt almost normal

after feeling like living in a fog for 10 years. I stopped at 5 beads then withdrawal really started. 

I came here and re-instated . That was 3 months ago and it's been hard going with lots of ups and downs.

I stopped too soon and should have continued at dropping one bead at a time for longer. 

 

Effexor is available as a liquid if you can get that. It will be much easier than the bead counting.

I have just got liquid from my doctor and will be using it for my next drop so it will be even less than 1 bead.

It takes time, but can be done painlessly while you get on with your life. 

 

And please don't be too hard on your mum. She was doing what she thought was best for you at the time

and the doctors would have told her that was best. And we all trusted our doctor when we started the med

merry go round. You will prove to her that you can be free of drugs, as long as you do it right.

Once withdrawal starts everyone takes it as a sign that your original illness has returned, and they  believe they are

right when the symptoms subside after you reinstate. They won't accept that it's withdrawal because that isn't

what the doctors are saying.  

 

One of the experts will be along to advise the best way to reinstate, my advice is based only on my personal

experience. You can get off effexor and feel better and better along the way, it just takes time. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thank you so much...so when my therapist calls me later...should I maybe ask for a 3 month supply for 37.5 mg extended release and the liquid? I just want to make this as easy and painless as possible. And to be clear...you are saying I should go back to my 37.5 XR dose..stay on that until I feel stabalized again...then start dropping dose. 10 beads per month?

 

You said you should have taken the end slower?

 

I wonder what the difference in recovery is for just riding it out right now as opposed to doing what you are doing. I mean, you say you are at 5 beads and just trying to get off that gives you bad withdrawals...I wonder if the intensity is sitll the same as if you had gotten off from a higher dose? Or coming off of 5 beads is it a mild withdrawal that you just dont want to deal with?

 

Im trying to wrap my head around the difference in withdrawaling sooner off of a higher dose, as opposed to a long slow taper and still feeling withdrawals...what is the difference in intensity or have people actually gotten off without any problems tapering that slowly?

 

I try not to be hard on my mom...I have forgiven her I guess...I know she was just trying to do the best she could. I just wish now, she could admit that there is a problem...not that she needs to repeatedly take blame for the past..but that she could be supportive now when I need it more than ever..rather...she just is generally mean to me.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Capsules and liquid sound great, but if you can't get both then I'd go for the liquid because it's easier to measure with a syringe. 

Everyone is different and one person might be ok after a shorter taper but the next person might need longer. The problem, 

For me at least, was simply me stopping too soon. Someone else might be able to stop at 5 beads and be fine. When I did, it 

was by accident really. I forgot a dose one day and next day I felt fine with no symptoms whatsoever so decided I must be ready.

I had no desire to tough it out after reading this forum! During a slow taper your brain is healing itself Imagine a building that is

falling down, scaffolding is put up to keep it together while repair work goes on. The builders are working away filling the holes,

replacing bricks and doing whatever builders do. Suddenly yank away the scaffolding before everything is settled and fixed, and it will

start to fall apart again. Our brain is the building and the scaffolding the drugs. As it's being fixed the scaffolding can be removed a bit .

at a time. Sometimes there might be a little wobble when part of it is taken away but treat it gently and it settles, waiting for the next repair.

Once it's restored the scaffolding can be completely removed. Again there might be a wobble but will settle.. 

Many people have been successful with a slow taper and they are noticable by their absence. Most people come here in despair

but when they get better they are getting on with their lives instead of hanging out where they were at their worst times. 

There is a success board where you can see some success stories and get more hope.  

 

That's how I think of my taper and how I get through it. As I said, I felt better with every drop until the 5 beads and stopped before all

the repairs were done. I also had a period of extreme stress which really shook my 'building' like an earthquake which has slowed down

my healing but thankfully it is almost settled again now and will take another drop in a few weeks. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thanks for writing mammaP,

 

That is the serious dilemma I am facing right now I suppose. Its like three things...1 of them is to say screw it, get back on pills, stay on them and just live life. Sortuv like, if someone had to be in a wheelchair..accept the drugs as a part of life. The other part of me things...im already off...just get through it because the thought of going back to my same dose makes me feel like I am just prolonging my suffering. I mean is there any evidence to actually suggest a slow taper is any better than just getting off at some point and dealing with it? It seems like everyone that does these slow tapers is still suffering just the same as someone who got off sooner so I dont see the difference from a scientific standpoint, but your visuals of the building repairing itself make sense although I dont know how a brain can really repair itself if you keep pumping drugs to it...even a small amount. Wouldnt recovery be faster by just stopping now? Maybe it would be more severe but...isnt it more likely someone would be free of issues sooner than someone tapering for such a long time?

 

Anyways..just my thoughts and im writing them. Although reinstating my dose to rid myself of what im going through right now does sound very appealing. So I can try to live life again. It honestly feels like....I could deal with life on pills...but these withdrawals make life unbearable to live, all the other people my age are doing fun stuff...going on trips, making big plans. having kids etc...enjoying life sometimes I just think....hey, just accept your wheelchair. but I guess I need to avoid that negative thinking.

 

Even on my last dose...I wasnt that well although I wasnt bad. Although Ive been suffering some odd problesm for awhile now even on pills, brain fog, fatigue, low testosterone etc. So it seems maybe I really have to get off now. This is such hell...I cant even believe this is reality.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Chris, the problem that I see with your logic is this: You're not actually "off." You're just not taking any meds right now. But your brain has designed itself around the chemistry induced by these drugs, and it's just now starting to go into the kind of chaos that brains go into when the chemistry they're designed around is disrupted.

 

Your brain developed on these drugs, is shaped around them, and just because you aren't taking them doesn't mean that it has somehow miraculously instantly reshaped itself to be okay "off" them. Believe me, if that actually was something that happened to people, I would be the first to say so.

 

Please read this piece:  http://beyondmeds.com/2011/03/31/trellis/

 

I've been at this work for a long time now and I can tell you that I've never seen one person with a childhood history of psych drugs who's been able to just quit them all at once successfully.

 

As to whether or not to just stay on them: The biggest problem with that plan is that (as you are already finding) that's not really a stable state either.  It's not the same as a wheelchair or crutch supporting an otherwise biochemically natural body. These drugs aren't natural. Our brains didn't evolve with these chemicals, and they don't function properly with them, so sooner or later people get in trouble while they're still taking them, and the medical solution is generally to swap drugs or add more drugs, usually more powerful ones.  I've never seen a situation where this approach doesn't deteriorate over time. Usually people end up disabled.

 

It's up to you, of course. We won't be able to help you here if you decide to stay on psych meds. That's not what this forum is for (helping people manage their medication profile) and none of us really have much experience or expertise with that.

 

But if you do want to stay off of them, I can absolutely tell you that you need to reinstate, and soon.  

 

Alto is the expert on that; to my less expert mind, given your long history I think you may need to even go a bit higher than 37.5, maybe even to 75 mg, since your brain doesn't really have a drug-free "normal" to attempt to revert to (like people whose brains were already developed before they were started on the drugs do).  I'd do it in a couple of steps, though, not all at once. 

 

Then stay at that dosage for a while, probably several months, until you've regained your homeostasis (chemical and biological balance). And then and only then begin the slow bead by bead taper process, and plan on that taking a couple of years.

 

I know this isn't what you want to hear. I do so wish you would listen, though. Your situation is tragic, but not hopeless, if you can be patient and take this careful approach.

 

Also, I highly recommend, when you're feeling a bit more calm and in control, the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, to help you understand the medical culture of psych drugs and what happened to your life and how your brain got hijacked.  Anything by Peter Breggin is also good.

 

My heart goes out to you, more than you know. I wish you the best of luck whatever path you choose.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Oh, and let me add, it is absolutely not true that there's no evidence that a slow taper is better than just quitting. There are mountains of evidence that a slow taper is better than just quitting. Even the drug companies, who are huge liars, have been forced to admit it.

 

And it's also not true at all that people tapering slowly suffer as much as people who don't taper slowly. I have no idea where you got that impression, but believe me there are thousands of people who would gladly testify otherwise.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Thanks Rhi...I am frustrated but I know the answer isnt to stay on the drugs. I think you guys have convinced me to reinstate pretty soon.But why go back up to 75 when I was stable at 37.5? Should I maybe start with 37.5 initially before going higher again?

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

Link to comment

I guess I just fear what you already said...I fear becoming disabled...ive gone this long on drugs and done well...now I know its time to get off of them for good. I just I guess....want that support and guidance in doing so. This forum seems great always for that. I guess I just am afraid I will never recover and live a normal life. Because I feel like if i do stay on pills...this will get worse, getting off of them has made things much much worse. Is it possible with the slow taper, to be stable and be able to take care of yourself and live life while trying to get off? Thanks

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I guess I just fear what you already said...I fear becoming disabled...ive gone this long on drugs and done well...now I know its time to get off of them for good. I just I guess....want that support and guidance in doing so. This forum seems great always for that. I guess I just am afraid I will never recover and live a normal life. Because I feel like if i do stay on pills...this will get worse, getting off of them has made things much much worse. Is it possible with the slow taper, to be stable and be able to take care of yourself and live life while trying to get off? Thanks

 

Well, there are no guarantees, and everyone is different. But for me, when I started my taper I was barely functional and almost disabled from an attempted CT of Neurontin about six months prior. And I continued to feel pretty bad much of the time for that first year or so until I got stabilized and got the hang of tapering in a way that works for me, but I was still able to hold down a job.

 

Now, still tapering, three years later, I'm not only doing okay and able to take care of myself and have a (very) full life and hold down a stressful job working graveyard shift 70 hours straight, I'm doing better than I've done in 20+ years.  (And I'm almost 60 years old.)  I feel kind of crappy after cuts for a little while, or when I overdo it, but I just stop and hold my doses until I know I'm ready to start again.

 

However, as you can see from my sig line, I've had to taper very slowly in order to achieve that.

 

As far as what dose to reinstate to, that's more an art than a science.  Ordinarily if you had started the drugs with a more mature brain I would certainly say go back to 37.5, and that's probably still a fine place to start. I'm just concerned that, as I said, your brain has no pre-drug "normal" to try to reset itself to, so I'm sort of thinking that it might be good to start with something close to what it was accustomed to for many years.

 

But reading your sig line it looks like you bounced around on various drugs for a while before going back on the 37.5 of Effexor, and you're quite young (which is good, your brain can change and adapt faster than us old folks). So 37.5 seems a reasonable place to start.  I would like to see what Alto thinks, if she chimes in on this thread.

 

Anyway, you can start with a reinstatement to 37.5 and see how that goes.  Best to reinstate soon, I think.  And then HOLD for a long time! You will probably not feel better immediately, and even once you start to feel better you will probably not feel great. 

 

Keep a daily journal of your feelings, emotions, and other symptoms, ranking them on a scale of 1 to 5 or something like that. The journal is your way of gathering information for yourself to look back on later and see what patterns your withdrawal follows. Our brains don't do a very good job of remembering objectively when we're in withdrawal, so you'll find this journal to be very helpful.

 

Once the symptoms seem to sort of plateau out and stay that way for a month or so, you can consider starting your slow taper. But start very cautiously. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to learn your own body's individual reactions before taking any risks.

 

Take the first three to six months of your taper really slowly and make that your "information gathering" time. Make only very small cuts during this time, and hold between cuts for at least three weeks (for a 5% or less cut) or six weeks (for a larger cut, although I think you should stick with a 5% max for now). Keep the journal daily during this time so that you can see how the pattern of cuts and withdrawal and recovery plays out for you. 

 

Once you have a sense of how the taper process works for you, you can speed it up gradually until you find what your limits are. 

 

Doing it this way will give you a great degree of control over your taper and over your withdrawal symptoms and recovery.  Since you're making such small cuts, you're not likely to cut too much at once. Since you're taking long holds between cuts, you're not likely to get ahead of the lag time and cut too much before the full withdrawal kicks in.  

 

As you get more accustomed to your body's patterns of withdrawal, you'll have more power and choice in how the withdrawal plays out in your life. You'll be able to tailor your taper to your own needs.

 

And going very slowly is, in your case, definitely better than going fast.  Your brain needs to redesign itself.  Genes that have been turned off for many of your developing years will need to be turned on, and others turned off.  All kinds of changes have to be made to receptors and cells and cellular connections. Your brain has to re-find its original genetic settings, and then remodel itself accordingly.  There's a lot of adapting and remodeling to be done.

 

Your brain can absolutely do it--they're amazing!--but not quickly.  It's not going to be like healing a cut or a broken bone. Our bodies had billions of years of cuts and broken bones during which to evolve mechanisms for healing those.  But never before in evolution have our bodies encountered anything like these drugs.  The inbuilt mechanisms that we have for making neurochemical changes are designed for much more subtle effects, like the changes in day length, or the hormonal changes of puberty and pregnancy, stuff like that.  

 

Your brain has to figure this out as it goes along.

 

And it will. I have seen amazing recovery happen in many, many people.  We're designed to heal.  But please, give your brain the time it needs to do this safely and well.  If I were in your shoes, or if you were my son, with your history, I would say plan to taper over two to three years time.  (Although that's not as bad as it sounds, since for the last third or so of the taper you'll be on very small doses and probably feeling pretty good and able to live a normal, happy life.)

 

Be cautious and patient, and I think you'll do fine.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Rhi, thank you so much for that post. That makes me feel a lot better. The task of tapering for years seems daunting...but everything you said makes perfect sense, and I agree. Being able to taper slowly like that is probably better for me anyways, as I can focus on my own issues during that time through other means like always, and overall health while still being able to go out and enjoy life. Because yes, suffering these withdrawals at this intensity...I dont think I can handle it much longer.

 

Do you find that when you have tapered for so long, that eventually when you do get off or when others have? It wasnt that hard...like say you went down to 4 beads...were fine on those and stayed on for awhile then got off....I am assuming during all that tapering, the brain made much progress in recovering and so then being off of them isnt as such of a shock anymore? 

 

Great post, cant thank you enough. I will get back on 37.5 again and try to stabalize back on the effexor. Then maybe I can move to liquid form after that.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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also, I knew a guy 10 years on xanax, tapered off fast..went through a month of hell but made lots of improvements. And is fine now. Are antidepressants harder to get off of that drugs like xanax and others in its class? I hear different people say diffeent things.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Mandance,

I just browsed your thread. I am 34. If I could go back to 29 and on nothing but 37.5mg of effexor, I'd take it. So if I was you, I'd go back on the meds and hold it for at least a month. A month is nothing. You know this!

 

I don't want to scare you since you've been through a ton already, which is apparent... That said, if I was in your shoes I'd take my time a bit and put some effort in the AIM section of your ... Ready, aim, fire plan.

 

At this point the costs for making a mistake exceed the costs of wasting a little more time doing the same thing... Also have you considered creating a food log. I saw you read Peat. I find what I eat makes a huge difference in my symptoms. Are you having any cravings? I had extreme cravings for fatty junk food like ice cream and cream filled cupcakes when I first stopped Effexor.

 

As someone who has put a lot of time into my own recovery, I feel confident in projecting your success if you take enough time to get your bearings before rushing off on course.

 

Good luck.

 

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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thanks Alex, that is really solid advice and I am going to follow it. I did browse your log, havent wrote yet. But it seems you have had a really long hard road so much respect you.  I agree at this point, that I would be much wiser to get back on for now and take it more slowly.

 

Diet for me is very solid. Ive dropped 50lbs and eat well although since getting off. I have no appetite...i sip OJ with gelatin in it, and milk to get by with magenium. Also supping vitamin D, lithium orotate etc. I might start using the hormone prenenolone again also. I have very good results when I took it consulting with Ray Peat.

 

I took it once and felt euphoric and happy for 3 days. I am also considering dialing in thryrid meds to bring my pulse temp and metabolism back up to speed. I need to eat mroe before I can mess with thyroid medication again though, that stuff can put you on your ass if you are stressed or secreting too much cortisol.

 

Alex, would you agree with the others that it would be wise to stabalize on 37.5 for a few motnhs until withdrawals go away, then determine the rate of tapering then?

 

It does seem smart to me...because then it seems one could live life again, while also promoting brain healing over greater time avoiding the chance you become a couch locked vegatable from overwhelming withdrawels. Thanks again man.

 

Also I will keep people updated with my hormone and thyroid experiments...I am going to consult an Endo first though next month. But first things first. Stabalize, get appetite back, increase metabolism and thyroid, then taper.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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I do think that stabilizing for a little while is a good idea.

 

I'm not a thyroid expert but a lot of people have had their thyroid act up after making a significant change in psych medications. Do you keep track of your thyroid labs?

 

It sounds like you've been through a terrible ordeal that was thrust upon you and is no fault of yours at all. I'm sorry all of this is happening. I do believe that you can reach your health goals and then go forward and have a good life. Hang in there!

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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yeah it sucks because some of the hardcore withdrawal symptoms I had are gone already so its like....man...i dont want to go back a step now. But maybe its for the best like you say. And i really appreciate the words and support....you inspire me and give me more determination to succeed. Its honestly not so bad when the mind set is good you know? Its just when you go to that dark place of no hope...its when its the worst. Ill keep this thread updated.

 

Out of curiosity though, what are the potential complications by not tapering more slowly...just excessive suffering with more hardcore withdrawal? Thanks

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Out of curiosity though, what are the potential complications by not tapering more slowly...just excessive suffering with more hardcore withdrawal? Thanks

 

Its possible that the hardcore withdrawal symptoms will come back because healing often happens in  windows and waves kind of pattern.  The problem is, if you leave it too long to reinstate, your nervous system may become even more unstable and sensitive and then reinstatement wont be possible because you could have a bad reaction to even a small amount of the medication.

 

I wish I could go back in time, knowing what I have learned here.

 

Of course its your decision,  and no one can predict what will happen, because everyone is different, but please consider all the good advice here.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Most certainly, thanks so much for the advice...I really appreciate it very much. I see my doc wed. So I can get more pills then. So that also gives me time to think more. But yeah, withdrawaling for 3 weeks now...the worst of it is over...but I do know it can get bad later on. Although today I actually feel pretty good and might go do something outside.

 

Still dizzy and foggy but I can deal with that. The short term memory loss and unable to think focus sucks though for working. Hopefully though, if I reinstate and go through this process slow....I wont have to deal with the hardcore withdrawals again though like the chest pain and arm pain etc.

 

thanks again.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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To respond to several of your posts, tapering actually becomes more difficult at lower doses for most people.  It's the last five milligrams or so that are to hardest to get off, from what I've read.  (I tapered off Lexapro too fast and didn't have the luxury of a long, slow taper.)  I think Rhi would likely agree with this.

 

For the most part, benzo tapers seem to be every bit as difficult as getting off ADs, especially when the problem is compounded by a history of drug cocktails.  Most people who get hooked on benzos were put on them to lessen the activating qualities of antidepressants.  Many times people are given several types of ADs, or an atypical antipsychotic with the AD, plus a benzo thrown in for anxiety or sleep.  Each of these have to be tapered very slowly and carefully, one at a time.

 

As for experimenting with hormones, please don't.  If you need to take thyroid medication, that's fine, but please don't mess around with anything unnecessary while you're tapering off these drugs.  Your central nervous system is already in an uproar and won't react well to more medications or supplements except for good quality fish oil and magnesium, both of which help most people.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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I understand. I do disagree with fish oil being healthy however. I used to believe it was but it seems its nothing more than a scam like most supplements these days. Correct me if i am wrong, but doesnt fish oil undergo the lipid oxidation process? Lipid oxidation is a mutating process that is harmful to cells. And like most waste products, which fish oil is...it undergoes that process  when taken into the body. Anyways, fish oil is off topic anyhow. And luckily yeah  I only have the one drug to deal with.

 

I probably will hold off on hormones and thyroid for now until I see and Endo and ask his opinion. But it seems anyone can benefit from fortifying thryroid and metabolism. There is plenty of research out there. Pure coconut oil has similar effects as thyroid. Its often why they tell MS patients with overactive thryoids to be careful ingesting coconut oil.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Most certainly, thanks so much for the advice...I really appreciate it very much. I see my doc wed. So I can get more pills then. So that also gives me time to think more. But yeah, withdrawaling for 3 weeks now...the worst of it is over...but I do know it can get bad later on. Although today I actually feel pretty good and might go do something outside.

 

 

I'm sorry to rain on your parade, but the worst of a too-fast withdrawal isn't over.  Many people find that withdrawal from Effexor sets in really badly four to five months after stopping the drug. Please keep that in mind while you're deciding what to do.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I understand. I do disagree with fish oil being healthy however. I used to believe it was but it seems its nothing more than a scam like most supplements these days. Correct me if i am wrong, but doesnt fish oil undergo the lipid oxidation process? Lipid oxidation is a mutating process that is harmful to cells. And like most waste products, which fish oil is...it undergoes that process  when taken into the body.

 

Here's our topic on fish oil.  Many people seem to have found it helpful in withdrawal:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

Where did you get the above information?  I'd be interested in reading it.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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also, I knew a guy 10 years on xanax, tapered off fast..went through a month of hell but made lots of improvements. And is fine now. Are antidepressants harder to get off of that drugs like xanax and others in its class? I hear different people say diffeent things.

Some people seem to be able to get off psych meds without much trouble, at least the first time around or two. Others not. I suppose there must be genetic differences involved, or something; there's no data on this because all research is sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, and they're still trying to convince everyone there's no such thing as withdrawal. They have no financial interest in helping people STOP taking their drugs.

 

On this forum we advise everyone as if they were not going to be one of the lucky ones, because the stakes are so high and the results so ruinous if they do come off fast and turn out not to be one of the lucky ones. This is why I say start very slow and very cautiously, and then gradually increase the speed of your taper as you find out what your limits are. If you can go faster, you'll discover that safely.

 

In my experience, people who were put on meds young while their brains were still developing are at higher risk of difficult tapers, as well as people who have been on and off meds, have had bad CTs or too-fast tapers in the past, and/or been on a variety of meds or multiple meds.

 

Benzo withdrawal can be hell on earth, sometimes for years, same as ADs. Check out the stories on Benzo Buddies if you want to hear more about that, although it's not really an issue for you.

 

You can take your chances if you want, but in my experience, given what you've already found to be true for you in the past, it doesn't look like you're one of the lucky ones.

 

I've pretty much given you all the advice I have, so I'm going to focus on other folks in need now. If you have further questions about tapering, please read over everything we've told you so far first. The answers may already be there.

 

Good luck. You have my best wishes!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Here is the info on fish oil:

 

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

 

Also you can google lipid oxidation yourself. there are many sources that state it as a harmful process.

 

I totally had that experience with effexor before. I had some bad panic taccks like 4 months later...but aside from that, i felt perfectly fine and healthy. Anxiety was the only thing to happen. I feel much more equipped to deal with anxiety now than before. But like I said....I am probably going to reinstate the low dose of effexor and take it slow as you all have suggested.

 

Does anyone know why these drugs cause delayed reactions like this months later? Also...what guarentees do I have that slowly tapering is goign to be any less painful that things have been up to this point? Im just trying to understand what the thinking is behind this or how you can compare suffering to suffering...it sounds like everythign I read on here from people that tapered slowly, still complain of tons of problems so it seems to me that they all suffer just the same eventually. Or am I wrong and most people that taper slow...when they do it long enough...deal with minimal issues when they finally do get off and things are stabalized?

 

Thanks, not questioning the logic behind this, just wondering how this conclusion was made. Im obviously not as experienced with this as some of you so....

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Yes, most people find slow tapering minimizes withdrawal symptoms.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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So do any of you know if long term use of these drugs can cause permanent issues, brain damage, cognitive problems? I've always seemed to feel like crap the last few years on pills..but it could also be due to stress. I got brain fog a year ago and it hasn't gone away...I notice off pills, this is much worse and its concerning. Does this eventually resolve after enough time off of the pills? I can't see my doc and get more effexor to reinstate until wed. It's hard going...I had a good day yesterday though...went to a fair, test rode some bicycles and went out to dinner. Today though I can't move and seem to cry a lot feel hopeless...I feel like the more I read online the worse I feel and start thinking permanent damage has been done and am screwed on or off the pills now. And there seems to be a real lack of success stories online from long term users who survived to have a normal life.

 

Girlfriend wants to start a family soon and I'm just holding her back with my problems. This is all just so hard to take in...I feel like I am handicapped or something and need to be in special care or something. Anyways sorry..had a hard day. Hoping one of you has some insights and can tell me I'm thinking too much. Thanks so much, hope everyone else is have a good weekend.

Male -29 years old.

 

Age 7 - Ritalin

Age - 13- 17 Prozac (No more Ritalin)

Age 17- 24 150mg effexor XR

 

Tapered off Effexor at 24 with minimal problems, felt great for 3 months then suffered many panic attacks.

 

Age 24- 28 Celexa 40mg

Stopped working at 28, tried various drugs...Lexapro, Pristiq etc...none really worked. Lexapro made me suicidal.

 

Age 29 - Back on effexor 75mg.

Age 29 - 37.5mg for 6 months or so no problems.

1 month 25mg non XR..withdrawals starting.

Added 10mg prozac for 10 days...minimal effect?

Pill free for 1 week, withdrawling for 3 weeks or so now. (7/262013)

 

 

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Hey mandance,

I think you can definitely recover. While it's generally true that there are not that many extensive stories of recovery here or on other psych med forums, that's too be expected since the people who get much better stop posting. But there are many many people who have recovered and gone on to be healthy and not suffered permanent brain damage or anything like this...

 

It's very normal to feel overwhelming emotion during the acute phase of the withdrawal... It might be best to limit your browsing and googling on the subject as the mind can really take off down some very upsetting directions... Getting all worked up and panicked does not seem to do any good at all... My advice is to remind yourself that you were initiated into psychopharmacy at a very young age and that it will take time for you to know with certainty how it will all end...

 

It's important to realize that the uncertainty is always there. Even if you had never taken one effexor there would still be the possibility that your health, partner or career could abandon you do to reasons outside your control... By the same token, when things are going well, I don't worry because I tend to assume that things will stay this good forever so why worry... The suggestion is to stay active and engaged with doing things that make you feel connected and worthwhile. Isolating and ruminating are unhelpful... Realize that the next 2-3 years will see a brand new you and it's likely that you will soon come to different views and opinions as you discover yourself better and also learn what of your favorite activities were ways of escaping unhealthiness which effexor contributed to... Although it seems scary, well, it is scary, that's true ... However it is also the greatest opportunity you've had so far to be an adult and step up to who you were meant to be.

 

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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